Cedar Rapids, Iowa --
Months ago, Iowa City Catholic Workers launched a #FreeThemAll campaign, alongside directly impacted families, to warn county and federal officials about the risks of a Covid-19 outbreak in the Linn County Correctional Center.
We are renewing our demands again after Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner reported that two immigrants detained on ICE holds in his facility tested positive for Covid-19 on July 22 and July 24.
"My husband Jose Cerillo has a heart condition and if he gets sick and dies from the Coronavirus, I would never see him again," said Juana Cuyuch Brito, a refugee from Guatemala.
"Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner's and ICE Supervisory Detention Officer Michael Hindman's promise to protect the immigration detainees inside Linn County Correctional Facility has failed," said Catholic Worker Emily Sinnwell.
"We call on them to immediately release Jose Cerillo Cerillo and all the other immigrant detainees now," Sinnwell said.
Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker said:
"We've known all along that our jails and correctional facilities were particularly dangerous environments given their close quartering. This latest instance is another case that proves our point. ICE is not only terrorizing hardworking nonviolent residents, but after unnecessarily incarcerating them, they are subjecting these individuals to exposre to COVID-19. This is cruel and unusual and it must end."
Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to parole an immigrant for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
Jose Cerillo has been detained in the Linn County Correctional Center on an ICE hold since March 3, when Homeland Security Investigations broke down his door and interrogated them for hours as part of a "Flood the Streets" campaign approved by President Donald Trump.
These HSI and BORTAC units are the same "secret police" now dispatched by President Trump to the streets of Portland and other American cities to repress Black Lives Matter uprisings.